Showing posts tagged as "Security Council"

Showing posts tagged Security Council

21 Oct
Ambitious Angola takes to world stage | PAULA ROQUE
Paula Roque is a senior analyst for Southern Africa at the International Crisis Group.
Is Angola about to become a global player? Luanda’s recent diplomatic charm offensive means the country is running unopposed for one of three African nonpermanent seats on the United Nations Security Council for 2015 and 2016.
Angola is no stranger to projecting power and influence. It has expanded its financial interests well beyond the African continent into Asia, Latin America and Europe.
It is intent on developing regional and international influence and is poised to become a key interlocutor on a range of African issues. But this will bring with it potentially heavy responsibilities.
Much of the council’s work is focused on Africa. Despite many positive trends on the continent, it faces threats to peace and security: civil wars in the Central African Republic (CAR), Libya, Sudan and South Sudan; insurgencies in Somalia, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mali; the growing threat of Muslim and Christian extremism in several countries; terrorism; piracy; and the spread of Ebola in West Africa.
Responses to these crises must be anchored as much in improved governance and political inclusion as in military action.
These crises will test Luanda’s limits and experience in post-conflict transformation. Over the past decade, the continent has demonstrated a commitment to tackling its problems, and Angola is intent on stepping up to the plate.
FULL COMMENTARY (Mail & Guardian)
Photo: Gobierno de Chile/flickr

Ambitious Angola takes to world stage | PAULA ROQUE

Paula Roque is a senior analyst for Southern Africa at the International Crisis Group.

Is Angola about to become a global player? Luanda’s recent diplomatic charm offensive means the country is running unopposed for one of three African nonpermanent seats on the United Nations Security Council for 2015 and 2016.

Angola is no stranger to projecting power and influence. It has expanded its financial interests well beyond the African continent into Asia, Latin America and Europe.

It is intent on developing regional and international influence and is poised to become a key interlocutor on a range of African issues. But this will bring with it potentially heavy responsibilities.

Much of the council’s work is focused on Africa. Despite many positive trends on the continent, it faces threats to peace and security: civil wars in the Central African Republic (CAR), Libya, Sudan and South Sudan; insurgencies in Somalia, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mali; the growing threat of Muslim and Christian extremism in several countries; terrorism; piracy; and the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

Responses to these crises must be anchored as much in improved governance and political inclusion as in military action.

These crises will test Luanda’s limits and experience in post-conflict transformation. Over the past decade, the continent has demonstrated a commitment to tackling its problems, and Angola is intent on stepping up to the plate.

FULL COMMENTARY (Mail & Guardian)

Photo: Gobierno de Chile/flickr

27 Aug
"Negotiators first should address the crucial issue of defining Iran’s enrichment capacity. Removing that obstacle would constitute real progress and, in so doing, increase the costs of ultimate failure; further, it could give the negotiators an incentive to compromise on other issues of more recent vintage, such as concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile program."

—From Crisis Group’s latest briefing: Iran and the P5+1: Getting to “Yes”

15 Nov
Open letter to the UN Security Council on the Central African Republic | Louise Arbour, International Crisis Group
Excellencies,
The Security Council must take decisive action this month to prevent further deterioration in the Central African Republic (CAR). Since the coup by Seleka rebels on 24 March, the state has collapsed. Lawlessness and disorder prevail throughout the country, including in the capital city, Bangui. 
The CAR faces four main challenges:
1. A security crisis: Banditry is rife in the provinces but also the capital, where Seleka fighters attack civilians, hijack vehicles belonging to UN agencies and NGOs and recently shot an African peacekeeper and a humanitarian worker. This banditry has triggered the establishment of local self-defence groups and clashes between Muslim and Christian communities that fuel insecurity and deepen the risk of violence against civilians. 
2. A humanitarian crisis: The humanitarian situation is rapidly worsening, with mounting reports of large-scale human rights abuses. According to OCHA, more than 1.6 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance, including about 400,000 persons displaced within the country and 64,000 refugees in neighbouring countries. 
3. A stalled political transition: Deteriorating security limits the ability of the transitional government to begin implementing the Libreville agreement and the N’Djamena summit’s decisions. Transitional institutions are in place, with a roadmap elaborated, but they have been unable to restore security and restart basic services. The political transition that began on 18 August should conclude in eighteen months with free and fair elections that members of the transitional government are prohibited from contesting. 
4. A collapsed state: The CAR is in complete disarray. Ministries have been looted, state infrastructure has been destroyed in the provinces, fiscal revenues are close to zero, and civil servants have fled to the capital. In short, the country can not deliver the most basic public goods. 
The Security Council adopted Resolution 2121 only nine months after the Libreville agreement, which partly explains why political and military means to support its implementation were lacking. Resolution 2121 seeks to reinforce and widen the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) and calls for the establishment of an African Union-led international support mission for the CAR (MISCA) – both welcome steps. Now, however, the Council must act faster, initially to help those on the ground restore law and order and then to reverse the country’s chronic fragility. Under a Chapter VII mandate, it could greatly contribute through the following steps:
To stabilise the situation on the ground
1. Provide emergency support, with appropriate funding, for the earliest and full deployment of the AU-led MISCA force and encourage the AU to ensure:
a. deployment of a mission with a clear focus on civilian protection and restoration of law and order;
b. a significant police component; and 
c. establishment of a secure environment conducive to the provision of humanitarian assistance to the population.
2. Mandate French forces to contribute to the restoration of law and order.
3. Encourage French forces and other countries to provide much-needed intelligence support to MISCA.
4. Encourage African countries to provide additional, capable and well-equipped troops to MISCA.
5. Ensure the swift design and implementation of a disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) program in coordination with the transitional authorities and potential donors.
6. Deploy UN peacekeepers to secure UN offices and their personnel, the DDR camps and Bangui airport. 
To facilitate BINUCA’s support to the transitional authorities
7. Authorise BINUCA to support the transitional authorities to:
a. restore law and order by assisting in the design of an emergency plan to restore and redeploy the CAR police, “gendarmerie” and judicial and penitentiary services, first in Bangui, then in the provinces;
b. prepare and implement a comprehensive security sector reform with the assistance of other partners; and
c. restore and redeploy the civilian administration in the provinces in coordination with MISCA and other partners.
8. Authorise an electoral assessment mission to propose an action plan, budget and realistic timeframe for the conduct of credible elections.
9. Authorise BINUCA to assist, together with donors, transitional authorities improve their capacity to manage natural resources.
The CAR has suffered repeated cycles of instability and violence since the 1990s. Urgent and concerted international action is required now to halt its slide into chaos and prevent conflict. As a first step, the Security Council should ensure effective support to the AU-led mission. Failure to take swift action risks further destabili¬sation that imperils not only the CAR and its people but also the entire region.
Sincerely,
Louise Arbour
President & CEO
FULL LETTER (International Crisis Group)
Photo: Bureau intégré des Nations Unies en Centrafrique/Flickr

Open letter to the UN Security Council on the Central African Republic | Louise Arbour, International Crisis Group

Excellencies,

The Security Council must take decisive action this month to prevent further deterioration in the Central African Republic (CAR). Since the coup by Seleka rebels on 24 March, the state has collapsed. Lawlessness and disorder prevail throughout the country, including in the capital city, Bangui. 

The CAR faces four main challenges:

1. A security crisis: Banditry is rife in the provinces but also the capital, where Seleka fighters attack civilians, hijack vehicles belonging to UN agencies and NGOs and recently shot an African peacekeeper and a humanitarian worker. This banditry has triggered the establishment of local self-defence groups and clashes between Muslim and Christian communities that fuel insecurity and deepen the risk of violence against civilians. 

2. A humanitarian crisis: The humanitarian situation is rapidly worsening, with mounting reports of large-scale human rights abuses. According to OCHA, more than 1.6 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance, including about 400,000 persons displaced within the country and 64,000 refugees in neighbouring countries. 

3. A stalled political transition: Deteriorating security limits the ability of the transitional government to begin implementing the Libreville agreement and the N’Djamena summit’s decisions. Transitional institutions are in place, with a roadmap elaborated, but they have been unable to restore security and restart basic services. The political transition that began on 18 August should conclude in eighteen months with free and fair elections that members of the transitional government are prohibited from contesting. 

4. A collapsed state: The CAR is in complete disarray. Ministries have been looted, state infrastructure has been destroyed in the provinces, fiscal revenues are close to zero, and civil servants have fled to the capital. In short, the country can not deliver the most basic public goods. 

The Security Council adopted Resolution 2121 only nine months after the Libreville agreement, which partly explains why political and military means to support its implementation were lacking. Resolution 2121 seeks to reinforce and widen the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) and calls for the establishment of an African Union-led international support mission for the CAR (MISCA) – both welcome steps. Now, however, the Council must act faster, initially to help those on the ground restore law and order and then to reverse the country’s chronic fragility. Under a Chapter VII mandate, it could greatly contribute through the following steps:

To stabilise the situation on the ground

1. Provide emergency support, with appropriate funding, for the earliest and full deployment of the AU-led MISCA force and encourage the AU to ensure:

a. deployment of a mission with a clear focus on civilian protection and restoration of law and order;

b. a significant police component; and 

c. establishment of a secure environment conducive to the provision of humanitarian assistance to the population.

2. Mandate French forces to contribute to the restoration of law and order.

3. Encourage French forces and other countries to provide much-needed intelligence support to MISCA.

4. Encourage African countries to provide additional, capable and well-equipped troops to MISCA.

5. Ensure the swift design and implementation of a disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) program in coordination with the transitional authorities and potential donors.

6. Deploy UN peacekeepers to secure UN offices and their personnel, the DDR camps and Bangui airport. 

To facilitate BINUCA’s support to the transitional authorities

7. Authorise BINUCA to support the transitional authorities to:

a. restore law and order by assisting in the design of an emergency plan to restore and redeploy the CAR police, “gendarmerie” and judicial and penitentiary services, first in Bangui, then in the provinces;

b. prepare and implement a comprehensive security sector reform with the assistance of other partners; and

c. restore and redeploy the civilian administration in the provinces in coordination with MISCA and other partners.

8. Authorise an electoral assessment mission to propose an action plan, budget and realistic timeframe for the conduct of credible elections.

9. Authorise BINUCA to assist, together with donors, transitional authorities improve their capacity to manage natural resources.

The CAR has suffered repeated cycles of instability and violence since the 1990s. Urgent and concerted international action is required now to halt its slide into chaos and prevent conflict. As a first step, the Security Council should ensure effective support to the AU-led mission. Failure to take swift action risks further destabili¬sation that imperils not only the CAR and its people but also the entire region.

Sincerely,

Louise Arbour

President & CEO

FULL LETTER (International Crisis Group)

Photo: Bureau intégré des Nations Unies en Centrafrique/Flickr

9 Aug
UN chief calls for sanctions on extremists in northern Mali, warns of humanitarian crisis | Washington Post
By AP
The U.N. secretary-general called Wednesday on the Security Council to sanction extremists who have taken over northern Mali, and he warned of worsening security and humanitarian crises in the African country.
FULL ARTICLE (Washington Post)
Photo: UN

UN chief calls for sanctions on extremists in northern Mali, warns of humanitarian crisis | Washington Post

By AP

The U.N. secretary-general called Wednesday on the Security Council to sanction extremists who have taken over northern Mali, and he warned of worsening security and humanitarian crises in the African country.

FULL ARTICLE (Washington Post)

Photo: UN

27 Jun
Comment | For justice and civilians, don’t rule out regime change | The Globe and Mail
By LOUISE ARBOUR
Civilian casualties in Syria shock our consciences, but there is also a frustrating acknowledgment that military intervention there might do more harm than good. The best option to protect Syrians is peace; ending the conflict should also end the massacres. But is the reverse true? Would an initiative aimed solely at protecting civilians resolve the conflict? Not necessarily.
Responsibility to protect – the emerging principle that states can intervene in other states to prevent mass atrocities, invoked in the case of Libya – suffers from the same uncomfortable relationship with peace that justice does. In both cases, the desired objective – protecting civilians or bringing criminals to justice – falls short of, or is often even at odds with, the objective of peace. Humanitarian or judicial objectives address only the manner in which the conflict unfolds, not its ultimate resolution.
In Libya, this dilemma was resolved by merging the three objectives. First, justice: The United Nations Security Council referred the matter to the International Criminal Court. Second, civilians: It authorized “all necessary measures” to protect them. Third, presumably hoping to achieve the first two objectives, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization undertook to bring an end to the conflict by effecting (or supporting, depending on your perspective) regime change.
But the manner in which this happened, with NATO widely thought to have overinterpreted its mandate, exposes weaknesses in the current approach. Under both international criminal justice and R2P, the interventionist role of the international community is predicated on the fact that the state in crisis, which has the primary responsibility for protecting its people and dispensing justice, is “unwilling or unable” to do so.
FULL ARTICLE (The Globe and Mail)
Photo: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

Comment | For justice and civilians, don’t rule out regime change | The Globe and Mail

By LOUISE ARBOUR

Civilian casualties in Syria shock our consciences, but there is also a frustrating acknowledgment that military intervention there might do more harm than good. The best option to protect Syrians is peace; ending the conflict should also end the massacres. But is the reverse true? Would an initiative aimed solely at protecting civilians resolve the conflict? Not necessarily.

Responsibility to protect – the emerging principle that states can intervene in other states to prevent mass atrocities, invoked in the case of Libya – suffers from the same uncomfortable relationship with peace that justice does. In both cases, the desired objective – protecting civilians or bringing criminals to justice – falls short of, or is often even at odds with, the objective of peace. Humanitarian or judicial objectives address only the manner in which the conflict unfolds, not its ultimate resolution.

In Libya, this dilemma was resolved by merging the three objectives. First, justice: The United Nations Security Council referred the matter to the International Criminal Court. Second, civilians: It authorized “all necessary measures” to protect them. Third, presumably hoping to achieve the first two objectives, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization undertook to bring an end to the conflict by effecting (or supporting, depending on your perspective) regime change.

But the manner in which this happened, with NATO widely thought to have overinterpreted its mandate, exposes weaknesses in the current approach. Under both international criminal justice and R2P, the interventionist role of the international community is predicated on the fact that the state in crisis, which has the primary responsibility for protecting its people and dispensing justice, is “unwilling or unable” to do so.

FULL ARTICLE (The Globe and Mail)

Photo: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

13 Mar
Members of the United Nations Security Council met Monday to discuss options for ending violence in Syria with the United States continuing to clash with Russia and China on strategy. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has maintained that there is no equivalence between the premeditated assaults of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the self-defense measures espoused by the opposition. According to the International Crisis Group (ICG), “Faced with mounting casualties and a political deadlock, outside actors at best have been ineffectual, at worst have poured oil on fire.” Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has reported that Syria is laying landmines along its borders with Lebanon and Turkey. This practice is of increased concern as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees reported that already about 300,000 people have fled abroad, 200,000 are internally displaced, and greater numbers are expected to flee for the border. Elsewhere, Syrian opposition activists reported a massacre in Homs overnight during which dozens of men, women, and children were assaulted and some set on fire in an presumed effort to frighten remaining citizens out of Homs. Syrian forces were also reported to have killed up to 55 people in the Idlib province, where army defectors killed 10 soldiers. According to the United Nations General Assembly, the death toll in the yearlong uprising has exceeded 8,000. This staggering violence prompted the main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, to call for”urgent” international military intervention. 
READ ARTICLE (Foreign Policy)

Members of the United Nations Security Council met Monday to discuss options for ending violence in Syria with the United States continuing to clash with Russia and China on strategy. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has maintained that there is no equivalence between the premeditated assaults of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the self-defense measures espoused by the opposition. According to the International Crisis Group (ICG), “Faced with mounting casualties and a political deadlock, outside actors at best have been ineffectual, at worst have poured oil on fire.” Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has reported that Syria is laying landmines along its borders with Lebanon and Turkey. This practice is of increased concern as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees reported that already about 300,000 people have fled abroad, 200,000 are internally displaced, and greater numbers are expected to flee for the border. Elsewhere, Syrian opposition activists reported a massacre in Homs overnight during which dozens of men, women, and children were assaulted and some set on fire in an presumed effort to frighten remaining citizens out of Homs. Syrian forces were also reported to have killed up to 55 people in the Idlib province, where army defectors killed 10 soldiers. According to the United Nations General Assembly, the death toll in the yearlong uprising has exceeded 8,000. This staggering violence prompted the main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, to call for”urgent” international military intervention. 

READ ARTICLE (Foreign Policy)

7 Mar
NPR

NPR: Report: Arming Syrian Rebels May Worsen Situation

A new report from the International Crisis Group says that arming the Syrian opposition could plunge Syria ever deeper into a bloody civil war. The ICG is a non-governmental organization. It’s headquartered in Brussels. And its report says this: Weaponry could transit through Lebanon, thereby virtually guaranteeing that Syria’s civil strife would spill over into its fragile neighbor, as well.

Arming the Syrian opposition, bombing the Syrian military, forging corridors to besieged Syria cities are all policy options that the International Crisis Group rejects, in favor of a new international plan.

Former U.S. Official Robert Malley is now the Middle East and North Africa Program director for the group and he joins us.

FULL TRANSCRIPT (NPR)

(Source: NPR)

21 plays
6 Mar
As veteran mediator Kofi Annan prepares to visit Damascus to try to rein in Syria’s turmoil, he could be forgiven for thinking his time would be far more usefully spent in Moscow, the Arab state’s old strategic ally.
Analysts say Russia is the one outside power that could determine whether the March 10 mission by the joint UN-Arab League special envoy prevents a fragmented global response from degenerating into a violent scramble for regional supremacy.
The United Nations says more than 7,500 people have been killed in a nearly year-old crackdown on demonstrators against President Bashar al-Assad who drew inspiration from other “Arab Spring” revolts across the Middle East and North Africa.
For many, Syria’s internal conflict is turning into a proxy struggle between rival international groupings, between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims in the Middle East and, globally, along Cold War lines between democracies and authoritarian leaders. The question for many, and perhaps also for Annan, a former U.N. Secretary-General, is whether president-elect Vladimir Putin will be ready to cut political support for his counterpart Bashar al-Assad in return for a deal that somehow shores up Moscow’s long-term influence with its closest Arab ally.
Lamenting an international response it said veered from the ineffectual to the inflammatory, the International Crisis Group (ICG) suggested that Annan’s best hope lay in enlisting Russian support for a negotiated, orderly transition of power that preserved the integrity of Syrian state institutions.
"Annan faces very long odds," a March 5 ICG note said, noting disarray among Assad’s numerous foreign foes had allowed the government to live "in denial" about the depth of the crisis. But it suggested Russia might be persuaded to shift position, so as to convince Damascus the balance of power was tilting against it and moves on a transition should now start.
FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)

As veteran mediator Kofi Annan prepares to visit Damascus to try to rein in Syria’s turmoil, he could be forgiven for thinking his time would be far more usefully spent in Moscow, the Arab state’s old strategic ally.

Analysts say Russia is the one outside power that could determine whether the March 10 mission by the joint UN-Arab League special envoy prevents a fragmented global response from degenerating into a violent scramble for regional supremacy.

The United Nations says more than 7,500 people have been killed in a nearly year-old crackdown on demonstrators against President Bashar al-Assad who drew inspiration from other “Arab Spring” revolts across the Middle East and North Africa.

For many, Syria’s internal conflict is turning into a proxy struggle between rival international groupings, between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims in the Middle East and, globally, along Cold War lines between democracies and authoritarian leaders. The question for many, and perhaps also for Annan, a former U.N. Secretary-General, is whether president-elect Vladimir Putin will be ready to cut political support for his counterpart Bashar al-Assad in return for a deal that somehow shores up Moscow’s long-term influence with its closest Arab ally.

Lamenting an international response it said veered from the ineffectual to the inflammatory, the International Crisis Group (ICG) suggested that Annan’s best hope lay in enlisting Russian support for a negotiated, orderly transition of power that preserved the integrity of Syrian state institutions.

"Annan faces very long odds," a March 5 ICG note said, noting disarray among Assad’s numerous foreign foes had allowed the government to live "in denial" about the depth of the crisis. But it suggested Russia might be persuaded to shift position, so as to convince Damascus the balance of power was tilting against it and moves on a transition should now start.

FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)

Syria has so far brushed off international pressure to halt its violent response to the uprising, bolstered by the resistance of Russia and China to any U.N. resolutions which they fear could be used to justify foreign intervention.
Assad reiterated Tuesday that his country faced “bids to weaken and destabilize it,” but told a visiting Ukrainian politician that Syrians had shown their determination “to pursue reforms in parallel with encountering the terrorism backed by foreign sides,” state news agency SANA reported.
A Chinese envoy, former ambassador to Damascus Li Huaxin, arrived in Syria Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported, and was due to meet Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem Wednesday.
The U.N.-Arab League special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, will also travel to Damascus Saturday for what would be his first visit since he was named to the post last month.
The appointment of Annan, who has called for all parties to cooperate to help to end the violence in Syria, offers a chance to “rescue fading prospects” for a negotiated solution to the crisis, the International Crisis Group said.
But the Brussels-based conflict resolution group said Annan would have to convince Russia to throw its political and diplomatic weight behind a plan to transfer powers from Assad, ensure an overhaul of Syrian security forces and set in place a process of “transitional justice and national reconciliation.”
It warned that the likely alternative to a political solution involved international steps to arm Syrian rebels, which “could plunge the nation ever deeper into a bloody civil war without prospects for a resolution in the foreseeable future and almost certainly trigger counter-steps by regime allies, thus intensifying the budding proxy war” in Syria.
FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)

Syria has so far brushed off international pressure to halt its violent response to the uprising, bolstered by the resistance of Russia and China to any U.N. resolutions which they fear could be used to justify foreign intervention.

Assad reiterated Tuesday that his country faced “bids to weaken and destabilize it,” but told a visiting Ukrainian politician that Syrians had shown their determination “to pursue reforms in parallel with encountering the terrorism backed by foreign sides,” state news agency SANA reported.

A Chinese envoy, former ambassador to Damascus Li Huaxin, arrived in Syria Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported, and was due to meet Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem Wednesday.

The U.N.-Arab League special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, will also travel to Damascus Saturday for what would be his first visit since he was named to the post last month.

The appointment of Annan, who has called for all parties to cooperate to help to end the violence in Syria, offers a chance to “rescue fading prospects” for a negotiated solution to the crisis, the International Crisis Group said.

But the Brussels-based conflict resolution group said Annan would have to convince Russia to throw its political and diplomatic weight behind a plan to transfer powers from Assad, ensure an overhaul of Syrian security forces and set in place a process of “transitional justice and national reconciliation.”

It warned that the likely alternative to a political solution involved international steps to arm Syrian rebels, which “could plunge the nation ever deeper into a bloody civil war without prospects for a resolution in the foreseeable future and almost certainly trigger counter-steps by regime allies, thus intensifying the budding proxy war” in Syria.

FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)